need tips on making my own spark plug wires [Archive] - Chevelle Tech

: need tips on making my own spark plug wires


bhawk
Apr 8th, 04, 9:56 AM
I would really like to replace my existing, way too long, spark plug wires on my 69 with wires the exact right length. So I would like to make them myself. I hear you can buy a roll of wire, and boots and ends and make up your own. But on reading other posts on this site, some say it is difficult.
I have the stock points distributor, and since the car has no computer, the 7mm carbon core wire should work fine for me, right?. How difficult is it to cut and crimp the ends? Can I buy wires individually the right length already made up instead of making my own? Your tips and experience are sought.

Schurkey
Apr 8th, 04, 10:49 AM
One of the more interesting convolutions of the English language: "Custom Fit" plug wires are built WAY TOO LONG, so they can be used on every engine Detroit ever built. "Universal" plug wires are cut to fit your particular engine and plug wire routing system. Go figure.

If you want to do this the least expensive way, go to a REAL parts store (not the exhaust tips 'n' blue headlight kind) and buy eight distributor terminals, a tube of silicone grease, and a plug wire crimper. Maybe $20. You can "probably" re-use your existing wires and boots. Dab of grease on the wire, slide the boot up a few inches to expose the metal distributor end. Cut the wires to length, crimp on the new end, slide the boot down.

I for one will NEVER use carbon core wires. My preference is the helical wound wires supplied by any number of companies. I tend to use MSD Super Conductors. These come with the plug end already on, and a crimping tool to do the distributor end. I've never had any luck with the MSD crimper supplied, so I use a pliers-type.

I tend to make plug wires about two inches longer than "perfect", so if I burn a plug end, I can cut it and re-crimp without having to replace the wire.

bhawk
Apr 8th, 04, 12:40 PM
The reason I was leaning to the old carbon core wire is because of what I read about increased RFI with a copper or stainless wire core. I don't want any problems with my new stereo that I just installed.
Are there any tricks to stripping the jacket off to expose the inner core of whatever wire you use to prevent nicking that inner conductor wire? Or do you just cut with a knife or the like and get close to the core, and then tear the jacket away. Maybe it is just trial and error based on the wire.

Rick_Nelson
Apr 8th, 04, 1:47 PM
Marley, while you are at it, you may consider hiding them. On all the custom show car engine compartments I do, I buy these kits on purpose and run the wires down the back of the engine and then under the headers. This makes for a very clean engine compartment and also makes valve cover removal a snap. Just an idea.

gigem
Apr 8th, 04, 2:08 PM
Originally posted by Rick_Nelson:
Marley, while you are at it, you may consider hiding them. On all the custom show car engine compartments I do, I buy these kits on purpose and run the wires down the back of the engine and then under the headers. This makes for a very clean engine compartment and also makes valve cover removal a snap. Just an idea. What do you use for a wire loom when you run 'em this way?

ed3196499
Apr 8th, 04, 2:15 PM
if you go the under header mount you can make your looms out of wire ties they are not seen. I used of the shelf wires the longest ones I could get since they have to travel a little further than normally, and be patient it takes a while but I think its worth it

http://www.chevelles.com/showroom/ed3196499/engbayside.jpg

blumont
Apr 8th, 04, 2:29 PM
Ed, that engine you posted doesn't really run does it? It must be just for show :D

Looks awesome, great job

ed3196499
Apr 8th, 04, 2:41 PM
:D Thanks Jerry it runs like a champ actually running in the pic graemlins/thumbsup.gif

1966_L78
Apr 8th, 04, 2:47 PM
Ed, that engine you posted doesn't really run does it? It must be just for showWOW!!!

I like that... Are those just 90-degree plug boots for the PCV and temp sender? Polished hardline... Nice touch...

I ran mine along the valve cover and around the back and thought they looked pretty good, but boy I have some more work to do...

http://www.chevelles.com/showroom/1966_L78/Engine1.JPG

blumont
Apr 8th, 04, 3:38 PM
Well you can see every wire in mine, but I have an excuse. I am an electrician and wire just gives me that warm fuzzy feeling smile.gif

Rick_Nelson
Apr 8th, 04, 4:35 PM
What do you use for a wire loom when you run 'em this way?
I have a whole box full of factory wire looms from various OEM manufactures that I bolt to areas behind and under the exhaust. Works very well as well as the wire tie idea.

bhawk
Apr 8th, 04, 8:52 PM
I cut into one of my existing wires. It has what appears to be hundreds of tiny strands of fiberglass, or is that carbon, wrapped by a small black tube of plastic?. Are these what are known as carbon wires? In any event, it seems fairly easy to skin the jacket off to expose this plastic core with strands inside. So I am tempted to just buy distributor ends and shorten mine, for experience at least. But I need a tool to crimp the new ends onto the wire. Who makes a good tool at a reasonable, hobbiest, price? My auto parts store quoted me fifty bucks for a crimping tool. I was hoping to pay less. Any info here guys?

SoCalRat
Apr 8th, 04, 9:59 PM
Awe inspiring motor Ed, don't mind if we borrow a few ideas do you graemlins/thumbsup.gif

anvilhead
Apr 8th, 04, 10:13 PM
summit sells a msd crimping tool that you use with a vice for about $7.00 I have used it to make my wires and it has worked great. Tim, Michigan

Rad
Apr 11th, 04, 2:17 AM
i made my own wires before and it turned out ok. i used regular pliers to crimp the connectors... that was a bad idea but the wires are still holding out.. if you make your own use the crimping tool..

street/strip68
Apr 11th, 04, 2:47 AM
The MSD mini crimper-stripper works awesome if you take your time. All you supply is a razor blade and a bench vise. It came with my wires when I bought them but you can buy it from summit or jegs pretty cheap. Don't use pliers, graemlins/sad.gif it is your ignition after all. They'll get the job done but for how long?. No complaints here.

bhawk
Apr 12th, 04, 9:21 PM
To conclude this post, here is what I did. I bought a Belden crimp tool from NAPA, 29 bucks US. I used my old wires and simply shortened them. I bought the 90 degree distributor terminals from NAPA, about 40 cents each. The tool worked great to crimp the terminal to the wire and also to cut the wire and expose the centre wire. I started the car after and it runs well. Mission accomplished. Thanks to all for your advice.